DVD | Box Set
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Any music fan can tell you exactly where they were on July 13th, 1985. There had never been a concert event of such magnitude-the biggest names in music performing in a concert broadcast live from 2 continents to an audience of over 1.5 billion. It is estimated that 85% of the world's television sets were tuned in to Live Aid that day. Now, for the first time on home video, you can own the concert that was arguably the biggest rock event in history-featuring David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Sting, The Who, U2, Neil Young, and many, many more. Over 10 hours of performances in a premium-packaged 4-DVD set. Royalties will benefit Band Aid Trust, which continues to provide direct hunger relief in Africa.
Billed as "the day music changed history," the Live Aid concerts of July 13, 1985, were held to raise money to fight the horrifying famines sweeping Africa. The brainchild of Bob Geldof and representing the efforts of countless musicians and technicians, Live Aid was a genuine and inspiring effort to help the victims of an overwhelming calamity. Twenty years after the twin concerts (one in London, one in Philadelphia) were broadcast worldwide, the 4-DVD treatment furthers the cause, with proceeds going toward the Band Aid Trust.
The DVD set opens with a heartbreaking documentary on the crisis, followed by videos of the two hit songs that represented the collaborative nature of Geldof's effortsBand Aid' s "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and USA for Africa's "We Are the World." Since Live Aid was never intended to be released in a recorded format, preservation of TV footage has been unreliable, resulting in some glaring omissions. Led Zeppelin's semi-reunion doesn't appear, and neither does a legendary session with Bob Dylan, Ron Wood, and Keith Richards. Some sets by performers who were popular at the time may inspire either nostalgic glee or head-scratching (Kiki Dee fans, you know who you are). Sprinkled amid these performances are a couple real gems, including a performance by Run DMC, the event's sole representative of the ascendant rap movement. Much of the music here was a passing fad, but the sentiment that brought it all together is timeless. -- Ryan Boudinot
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First of all, to clear satellite time and do a live broadcast all over the world at the same time was unheard of and untried in 1985. There were some technical glitches and sometimes the feed was even lost and the time would be filled in by MTV DJ's (MTV aired the broadcast and provided commentators).
As far as the missing material of some of the acts it doesn't exist in any recorded form anymore. Bob Geldof asked that the show not be recorded or rebroadcast and the BBC destroyed the tapes at his request. There was no plan to make a concert DVD (there were no DVD's) and sell it after the fact to raise money. The concert was supposed to raise donations that day and awareness of what was going on in Africa. The only reason that any Wembley footage exists is that some of the tapes were lost and found years later in some dusty corner. Then they had to salvage what they found and use what could be used.
MTV recorded the broadcast also but a lot of the footage is with handheld cameras and substandard audio. They supposedly had over 100 hours of various types of footage and also salvaged what they could.
The Who are missing half of their set because the BBC had a power outage and it never made it to the air. Led Zeppelin specifically withheld their permission for their material to be used because they didn't like their performance. The rest of the footage is just gone.
Musicians were not paid. The reason you see US bands in London and English bands in Philadelphia is because they were touring at the time and played at the closest venue. Bands are not missing off the DVD because they wanted more money etc.
As for the quality the sound has been remastered to 5.1 and actually sounds pretty good for the most part. The video is not always crisp but they did a pretty good job considering they were working with 20 yr old tapes. Its a 4 disc set that's well worth the money. It's a great snapshot of some of the acts that were at the top of their game in the 80's. Maybe you can educate your kids. My 14 year old daughter actually asked me who Madonna was. I told her in her day she was way bigger that Britney Spears.
The money from the sale of the disc still goes to Africa so buy it!
The fact that there's even a dvd set available is a miracle in itself.
A booklet that comes with the dvd set explains the idea behind LIVE AID and how BOB GELDOF (singer of THE BOOMTOWN RATS) saw a BBC News report on television in 1984 (the news footage is included at the start of dvd #1) about the famine going on in Africa/Ethiopia. He wanted to do something about it and formed BAND AID in the UK. This in turn formed U.S.A FOR AFRICA in the US, which ultimately led to the LIVE AID concert which happened on July 13, 1985. The concert was filmed by MTV, ABC and the BBC, and aired on its respective channel with an estimated 1.5 billion viewers around the world.
According to the dvd's producer, Jill Sinclair, Geldof wanted the concert to be shown only once and not recorded. ABC took Geldof at his word and destroyed the footage so it could never be re-broadcast again. The BBC ignored him but lost some of the footage, while the videos that weren't lost, sat collecting dust. MTV found over 100 tapes of b-roll of the concert and so Sinclair, and the rest of the LIVE AID dvd team, combined MTV's footage of the LIVE AID concert, with the remaining BBC footage and that's how we get this remarkable 4-dvd set! So bravo to Jill Sinclair and the dvd team.
The concert took place at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. The dvds go back and forth from Wembley to JFK, but transitions smoothly, so there aren't any jarring cuts in between the musical acts. Considering that this concert was recorded using analog equipment and was meant for a one-time only showing, the footage itself has been restored as best as it could be and it looks pretty good (sharp, vibrant color, etc.). There are some instances where wavy-horizontal lines appear on close-up shots on some of the performances, and Sinclair explains in the booklet that this is a phenomenon called "microphany," which happens when the "camera lens is affected by great volume." The lines aren't that distracting since they aren't colored, and they don't distort the picture, but they're just noticeable. It only happens once in a while and according to the booklet, only on some UK performances.
Along with the performances, the LIVE AID dvd set also includes extras:
**BBC TV NEWS REPORT
**BAND AID - DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS - music video
**U.S.A FOR AFRICA - WE ARE THE WORLD - "..."
DVD #4-(includes performances recorded at different locations/times and either broadcast that day or never televised)
**INXS - What You Need; Don't Change
**B.B. KING - Why I Sing The Blues; Don't Answer The Door; Rock Me Baby
**ASHFORD & SIMPSON with TEDDY PENDERGRASS - Reach Out And Touch(Somebody's Hand)
**RUN DMC - King Of Rock
**CLIFF RICHARD - A World Of Difference
**DAVID BOWIE & MICK JAGGER - Dancing In The Streets (this is actually the music video; according to wikipedia Bowie and Jagger were supposed to do a live duet on the song, with Bowie in London and Jagger in Philadelphia, but because of technical difficulties it couldn't be done)
**DOCUMENTARY - Food And Trucks And Rock 'n' Roll
Instead of a scene selection menu, the dvds have "search by artist" that lets you go right to the start of that performer's set (which will then play the rest of the concert from that point on, rather than going back to the menu). You also have the option to just play the Wembley performances or the Philadelphia perfomances.
If you're too young to remember this concert, you might miss the significance of it. But it's still worth watching. Like Woodstock was to a generation before it, LIVE AID showed the world that young people could come together, through music, and collectively believe in something that could change the world. If you do remember this moment in time, watching this concert will bring back many memories.
Some of the stand out performances on these dvds, IMO:
FREDDIE MERCURY/QUEEN - The rapport between the audience and Mercury is incredible. He launches into an impromptu "scat" singing certain vowels to the audience and they sing it back to him, verbatim
ELTON JOHN & GEORGE MICHAEL - John playing the piano, while Michael belts out John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
PATTI LABELLE - The soul diva belting out her version of Lennon's "Imagine" and then going into "Forever Young." Towards the end of the latter song, she puts down the microphone, walking up to the front of the stage and continues singing...and you can still hear her voice, barely audible, but powerful enough to be heard over the cheering crowd and the back-up singers
TINA TURNER & MICK JAGGER - duet on "State Of Shock" Turner matches Jagger move for move and lip for lip
So even though this set is not complete, it still deserves 5-stars.
Very moving scenes captured on film of the devastating famines in Africa followed by hours of footage of two of the best concerts ever performed. Amazing to see all the top Artists/Bands perform their hits...all totally voluntary.
Loved every second of the 4 CD's.....once i started watching I couldn't stop. So exciting, and brought back lots of memories.
Great idea for birthday pressies, i bought a few sets and I'm going to order more!! Even better, knowing that a large part of the cost is still going to the Live Aid Trust.
An absolutely brilliant buy!!!